Time Clauses

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  • What do you do when you want to indicate that an action occurred before or after or even at the same time as another ?
    I think we normally do this:
    - I was taking a shower while my wife was watching TV in the sitting-room. (simultaniety)
    - I was taking a shower when my wife opened the bathroom's door. (sudden action)
    - After I had taken a bath, I sat down on a sofa to watch TV. (1st action ... 2nd action)
    NB: elsewhere I read: After I took a bath, I sat down ...
    Is this right?
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Time Clauses

  1. 1. Time Clauses
  2. 2. Time Clauses You use time clauses to say when something happens. The verb in the time clause can be in the present or the past tense. I look after the children while she goes to London. I haven’t given him a thing to eat since he arrived.
  3. 3. Time Clauses WARNING: You never use the future tense in a time clause. You use one of the present tenses instead. Let me stay here till Jane comes to bed. I’ll do it when I’ve finished writing this letter.
  4. 4. Time Clauses When you want to say that two events happen at the same time, you use a time clause with ‘as’, ‘when’, or ‘while’. We arrived as they were leaving.
  5. 5. Time Clauses When you want to say that two events happen at the same time, you use a time clause with ‘as’, ‘when’, or ‘while’. We arrived as they were leaving.
  6. 6. Time Clauses Sometimes the two events happen together for a period of time. She wept bitterly as she told her story.
  7. 7. Time Clauses Sometimes one event interrupts another event. He was having his dinner when the telephone rang. John will arrive while we are watching the film. Note: You often use a continuous tense for the interrupted event.
  8. 8. Time Clauses When you want to say that one event happens before another event, you use a time clause with ‘after’, ‘as soon as’, ‘before’, or ‘when’. As soon as we get tickets, we’ll send them to you. Can I see you before you go, Helen?
  9. 9. Time Clauses Note: You use the past perfect to indicate an event that happened before another event in the past. When she had finished reading, she looked up.
  10. 10. Time Clauses When you want to mention a situation which started in the past and continued until a later time, you use a time clause with ‘since’ or ‘ever since’. You use a past simple or a past perfect in the time clause. He hadn’t cried since he was a boy of ten. I’d wanted to come ever since I was a child.
  11. 11. Time Clauses If the situation started in the past and still continues now, you use a past simple in the time clause, and a present perfect in the main clause. I’ve been in politics since I was at university. Ever since you arrived you’ve been causing trouble.
  12. 12. Time Clauses Note: After impersonal ‘it’ and a time expression, if the main clause is in the present tense, you use ‘since’ with a past simple. It is two weeks now since I wrote you.
  13. 13. Time Clauses If the main clause is in the past tense, you use ‘since’ with a past perfect. I was nearly seven years old since I had seen Toby.
  14. 14. Time Clauses When you want to talk about when a situation ends, you use a time clause with ‘till’ or ‘until’ and a present or past tense. We’ll support them till they find work. I stayed there talking to them until I saw Sam. She waited until he had gone.
  15. 15. Time Clauses When you want to say that something happens before or at a particular time, you use a time clause with ‘by the time’ or ‘by which time’. By the time I went to bed, I was exhausted. He came back later, by which time they had gone.
  16. 16. Time Clauses In written or formal English, if the subject of the main clause and the time clause are the same, you sometimes omit the subject in the time clause and use a participle as the verb. I read the book before going to see the film. The car was stolen while parked in a London street.
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